Chef de Mission, Spain
1) Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
I do not know. I suppose that it must be difficult to find the agreement with all the stakeholders involved in a big event like a Continental Games, but I am sure that European Games are a fantastic idea and will be a great success.
2) What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
Baku is becoming a great city; it is very interested in promoting its image throughout the world and sport is a fantastic way.
3) How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
Our team size will be around 300 people, including athletes and officials, and we will take part in 19 sports.
4) How important is it for the success and appeal of the European Games that some sports afford athletes the opportunity to qualify for Olympic Games?
From my point of view, it is very important because the level of the competition will grow a lot. There are an important amount of top level athletes who are including this event in their calendar.
5) What is the significance of the Games for the European Olympic Movement and how confident are you that they will become sport’s flagship event on the continent?
A new multi-sport competition is starting and I think that it could reach the level of Pan American or Asian Games, but it will take some time to be consolidated.
6) How impressed have you been by the facilities to be used for the European Games and the work of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee in ensuring their delivery and readiness?
The facilities are incredible; they are at the same level of the Olympic Games facilities. Regarding the Organising Committee, they are doing a great job and the Baku 2015 staff is very experienced and professional, and I am sure they will deliver a fantastic Games.
7) Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games?
I would like that more team sports will be part of the programme.
8) How symbolic is it that the first ever European Games will take place in a country that has experienced a major re-birth of its own since gaining independence in 1991?
It is a symbol of a new era. We are starting a new Games in a young country which is building its own future.
9) How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
Olympics Games, World Championships and European Championships are always a great spectacle for Spanish fans. Besides, Baku 2015 and the Spanish broadcaster RTVE have signed an agreement in order that the Spanish spectators can watch the most important competitions of this event.
10) What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
I hope for a fantastic performance from the Spanish athletes, which will contribute to the success of this first edition of the European Games.
Interview by Daniel Etchells